As the cleaning and hygiene industry faces unprecedented staff shortages, James White, Managing Director at Denis Rawlins Ltd, explains how investing in innovation can bridge the gap and support those still working on the frontline.
The cleaning and hygiene sector is facing severe staff shortages. In fact, just last week the British Cleaning Council (BCC) revealed that overseas workers returning home, and operatives switching jobs following the Covid-19 pandemic, have led to a staffing crisis in the industry.
BCC Chairman, Jim Melvin, claims he has never before known it to be this challenging to recruit cleaning staff*. And the 2021 change in immigration rules, stating that cleaning staff are now classed as low-skilled workers, does not help entice new people to the sector.
Of course, there is a wider job to do here to attract new and former talent back into the industry. We must shift the poor perceptions of cleaning and position ourselves as a forward-thinking, innovative sector.
In the short term, we must also do all we can to address this staff shortfall and support those workers that are still out there on the front line, by working smarter and investing in time and cost saving cleaning innovations. The solutions we put in place now also have the potential to revolutionise the way the sector operates in the future.
Investing in innovation
This is where equipment plays a major role. Innovative machines can really support cleaning operatives during challenging times. Many are easy to use, deliver better results than more traditional processes, and are more time and cost efficient.
For example, high-flow fluid extraction is significantly more effective than traditional mopping and leaves a clean, dry floor in a matter of seconds. This process uses fresh water and cleaning chemicals, dispensed on the surface. It is then agitated, if necessary, to loosen soils, and suctioned away. It ensures that the soils, and any liquids, are removed from the surface, rather than spread around the floor. This method can be used in a range of settings, from shopping malls and stations to stadiums and factories. In fact, it’s highly effective on almost all hard surfaces.
High-flow fluid extraction machines like the Kaivac Stretch SUV and Kaivac UniVac can really help cleaning operatives deliver a higher standard of both rapid response and daily cleaning.
Combining high speed push-behind cleaning for large areas, with a precision vacuum wand for smaller or grouted areas, the Kaivac Stretch SUV can tackle any hard flooring challenge, as well as daily cleaning. And thanks to its cordless battery capability, the Stretch SUV can also address unexpected challenges, such as weather-related issues or spillages, quickly and safely, leaving a dry floor that is ready for immediate use.
The Kaivac UniVac cleans better and faster than a mop, using high flow fluid extraction technology to truly remove all traces of soils and grease, designed for use in restaurants and kitchens. This high-performance hard floor cleaning machine also uses at least 65% less water and cleaning solution than any other machine out there.
Remove, improve & protect
At the start of the pandemic, we launched our ‘Remove, Improve and protect’ cleaning strategy, which provided a three-step process for keeping hygiene levels high.
Remove was all about lifting soils away through high-flow fluid extraction, rather than spreading them around with a mop.
The improve stage ensured that the techniques adopted continuously increased cleanliness levels each time, through data-driven ATP testing.
The final stage – protect – provided long-term protection of recently cleaned surfaces using an antimicrobial shield.
This strategy, and the equipment used to deliver the task at hand, not only ensures the highest levels of hygiene, but also makes the entire cleaning process more efficient and easier to manage.
These objectives – remove, improve, and protect – also represent the impact that innovative cleaning machines can have during challenging times.
For example, embracing machines like the Kaivac Stretch SUV and UniVac can remove the worry around staff shortages, because you have the peace of mind that the technology can not only deliver the highest of hygiene standards, but also do the job with 1/6th of the man hours needed for mopping.
Such an investment improves your employee’s morale, efficiency, efficacy, and your working practices. It also boosts staff wellbeing, who have the right tools for the job and can take pride in the standards of their work.
These processes protect your bottom line too – with equipment that will last a decade, the return on investment is years rather than months. As the cleaning sector faces a challenging few months ahead, with rising costs also adding pressure, it is time to embrace the technology available to us, and find ways to work smarter. These innovations will not only help us get through a difficult time now, but could also shape the future, for more streamlined and efficient hygiene practices.
To find out how we can help support you during staff shortages, get in touch today https://www.rawlins.co.uk/contact-us